Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities

, Volume 6, Issue 6, pp 1157–1166 | Cite as

Assessing the Acceptability of a Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy Intervention for African-American Women Living with HIV/AIDS

  • Josalin J. Hunter-JonesEmail author
  • Shantesica M. Gilliam
  • April L. Carswell
  • Nathan B. Hansen


African-American HIV-seropositive women are at elevated risk for depressive symptoms compared to their seropositive counterparts. Depressive symptoms have been linked to HIV/AIDS-related health predictors and outcomes such as medication and care adherence, and viral load. Project UPLIFT, a mindfulness-based cognitive therapy intervention originally designed for persons with epilepsy has been shown effective to reduce depressive and anxiety symptoms. Focus groups were conducted to assess the appropriateness and acceptability of UPLIFT for African-American HIV-seropositive women and to obtain feedback on needed modifications. The focus groups, including cisgender and transgender African-American HIV-seropositive women, revealed, while well received, modifications should include lowering the reading level of content and altering specific mindfulness-based exercises to make them relevant and acceptable to the target population. This qualitative work demonstrates UPLIFT could be a promising avenue to improve the mental health of African-American HIV-seropositive women, a group for which mindfulness interventions had not been previously considered.


Mindfulness-based interventions have been found effective in reducing depression, anxiety, and chronic pain. Further, it has been used for groups living with chronic illness, particularly HIV/AIDS. It has helped to improve mental and behavioral health, as well as increase CD4 count and reduce viral load for some samples of people living with HIV/AIDS. African-American women living with HIV/AIDS are especially vulnerable to poor mental and behavioral health given their experience of mental illness and hesitancy to engage mental healthcare. Though used for other groups of people living with HIV/AIDS, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy has not previously been considered for this population. This study explored the acceptability and feasibility of an MBCT intervention for this group. The data suggests that this intervention could be potentially useful in improving the mental health of this population, and includes suggestions for making the intervention culturally relevant.


HIV/AIDS Mindfulness Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy Depression Anxiety Telehealth Telephone 



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Copyright information

© W. Montague Cobb-NMA Health Institute 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.SSchool of Social Work, College of Health and Human SciencesUniversity of North Carolina WilmingtonWilmingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Health Promotion and Behavior, College of Public HealthUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA
  3. 3.ICFAtlantaUSA

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